Photo submitted

Secret Santa Festival of Lights drive-thru in Samson

By Chevi Rabbit For Ponoka News

The Secret Santa Festival of Lights drive-thru was the brainchild of Samson Cree Nation’s Secret Santa Committee.

Dec. 21, 2020, at 5 p.m. is the official opening day for the public to the drive-thru. The Christmas light show is free of charge and in an area of Samson Cree Nation accessible to the public in a subdivision known by the community as “Knots Landing.”

Knots Landing is located just off Hwy. 2A, as soon as you enter Maskwacis from Ponoka. It’s on your left-hand side. It serves as an opportunity for anyone driving by to see the amazing light display.

A total of thirteen homes and a park area have been detonated thanks to local donations and volunteers.

In 2009, the Samson Secret Santa Campaign was initiated. The first year, the committee provided gifts and winter outerwear to 25 local children.

Over the years the number of children supported through this campaign increased exponentially with the highest number being 1,200 children that received gifts.

Committee member Debra Buffalo said, “The Samson Secret Santa is a 100 per cent volunteer organization. Fundraising is done all year long through bingos and various other fundraising ideas and of course donations that we receive from local businesses and organizations and individuals.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the committee was unable to proceed with the gift-giving to the children. The Secret Santa Committee started brainstorming to see what other options. The committee still wanted to bring some Christmas cheer and came up with the Secret Santa Festival of Lights drive-thru.

“Our Nations have really been struggling lately with the Covid 19 pandemic as well as a lot of losses of community members,” said Buffalo.

“With all the sadness, stress and grief that our community is dealing with at this time, we really wanted to bring some Christmas Spirit to our people.

“The lights are symbolic of hope — only light can bring people out of the darkness … so this is what we are hoping this light display will bring … Hope for better days ahead and that we all get through this together.”

Buffalo says her role in this year’s project is Santa’s second elf, Myrna Buffalo is Santa’s head elf and both ladies have been involved with Samson’s Secret Santa for the last eleven years.

Other elf workers include: Carmella Cutknife, Norine Buffalo, Cassie Buffalo, Jennilee Louis, Michelle Louis, Angela Boysis-Bull, Bonnie Fawcett, Janet Swampy, Lisa Buffalo, Tami Lukinak, Sherrie Crier, Racey Baptiste, Mavis Rowan, Quinton Littlepoplar, Darlene Bruno and Cameron Favel, Micheal Saddleback, Pam Johnson, Kenneth Dusfrene, Don Omeasoo, Sandra Bruno, Jamie Bruno, Rhonda Rowan, Shaylene Buffalo and Sam and Alesha Buffalo.

The committee says many people, businesses and organizations made this initiative a reality, including Burger Baron, Mr. and Mrs. Augustine of Edmonton, Lucinda Johnson, Jordana Littlepoplar, Florence Saddleback, Dolly Rain, Kendra Cut-knife, Heather Buffalo and Cameo Crier.

Community partnerships include Samson Cree Nation Leadership, Samson Community Wellness Department, Samson Income Support, Samson Community Initiatives, Samson Emergency Management, Samson Healthy Families, Samson Consultation Department, Samson Celebrations Committee, Maskwacis Fire Department, John and Jay Nepoose and Jr. Konchinew, Fortis/Davey.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

There were six additional deaths across Alberta reported over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 1,926 since the beginning of the pandemic. (File photo)
file photo
Wetaskiwin RCMP respond to break and enter and theft at a Wetaskiwin church

RCMP responded to a break and enter and theft at Jesus Cares Fellowship Church.

file photo
County of Wetaskiwin office to re-open Monday April 19, 2021

County of Wetaskiwin is re-opening their office and public works shops to the public on April 19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, 66, died Tuesday at Chinook Regional Hospital. (Cornerstone Funeral Home)
Lethbridge doctor becomes 7th Alberta health-care worker to die from COVID-19

Dr. Wayne John Edwards, who was 66, died Tuesday at the Chinook Regional Hospital in the southern Alberta city

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

A vial of some of the first 500,000 AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

The male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on as Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during a news conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Expectations high as Trudeau Liberals get ready to unveil first pandemic budget

The Liberals will look to thread an economic needle with Monday’s budget

Doses of the Moderna COVID‑19 vaccine in a freezer trailer, to be transported to Canada during the COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pfizer to increase vaccine deliveries in Canada as Moderna supply slashed

Moderna plans to ship 650,000 doses of its vaccine to Canada by the end of the month, instead of the expected 1.2 million

A empty classroom is pictured at Eric Hamber Secondary school in Vancouver, B.C. Monday, March 23, 2020. The Alberta government says schools in Calgary will move to at-home learning starting Monday for students in grades 7 to 12.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Calgary schools to shift to at-home learning for grades 7 to 12 due to COVID-19

The change, due to COVID-19, is to last for two weeks

A man wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as he walks past the emergency entrance of Vancouver General Hospital in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
COVID-19 spike in B.C. could overwhelm B.C. hospitals: modelling group

There are 397 people are in hospital due to the virus, surpassing a previous high of 374 seen in December

Most Read